Vaudeville Villains

Vaudeville Villains

Vaudeville Villains

Recent posts from our readers forum.
June 7 2000 11:30 PM

Vaudeville Villains

Subject: AT&T's Astute Appeal to Self-Abusers

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From: S. Phillips

Date: Fri Jun 2  8:07 a.m.

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: The moment at which a technology can be said to have "matured" is that point at which it is first useful for pornographic purposes. Is it reprehensible that AT&T cable will carry the Hot Network? Maybe. But AT&T is actually showing a remarkably astute awareness of American consumer-tech history. The VCR owes most of its early success to the world's oldest value-proposition. And let's not forget the camcorder (now with ZeroLux Vision), the telephone (clear and private telephony = 1-900-Nymphomercials), pulp printing, and, of course, the Internet. Palmtops are even beginning to blush with color and should begin growing hair any day now. Yep. A big surge in demand for Digital Cable is on the naked horizon.

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Subject: The Real Victims Behind the Death Penalty

From: Nick

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Date: Sun Jun 4  8:41:50 a.m.

One omission and one phrase caught my attention in this article. The omission was the lack of any link to any pro-death penalty/victims' rights Web page: Instead we get one that helpfully offers to give us our very own serial murderer/contract killer/cop killer/rape-torture murderer as a pen pal.

The phrase that caught my attention was "death penalty victims" which translates to people who were executed. If and when Timothy McVeigh is executed, I wonder if the author will have the gall to refer to him as a victim.

I do agree with the author's contention that the death penalty is not going to go away. But this is because the crimes committed by the individuals committed to death row are the best possible advertisement for the death penalty. As for the argument that the death penalty has lost support, 64 percent of Americans are in favor of it. This was near the same percentage of people who opposed Clinton's impeachment and was in that case considered to be an overwhelming figure.

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Subject: Which Side Is Gladwell On?

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Date: Wed May 31  4:43 p.m.

Malcolm Gladwell writes: "We gave up half a season for this?" a statement that presumes that the lockout occurred for the fans' benefit rather than the owners. The salary cap is not a device for promoting competitive balance, though this is a nice effect. Nor is it a "law" violated by the smartest or wealthiest owners. It is a provision of a collective bargaining agreement that allows owners to evade competing for players. They can, often truthfully, tell their fans that the cap prevents them from signing a valuable performer. If Gladwell supported last year's lockout in the belief that the owners represented the public interest, as opposed to the private interests of a cozy clique, then I have a brand new mega-stadium with luxury boxes to sell him.

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Subject: The Myth of Jim Florio's "Unpopularity"

Date: Fri Jun 2  11:55 a.m.

Is it really accurate to describe former New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio as the "most loathed politician in New Jersey"? Notwithstanding all of his image problems and the reluctance of the state party leaders to have him as their Senate candidate, let's not forget that he lost his re-election bid in 1993 to Gov. Christine Todd Whitman by only 1 percent (1,236,124 to 1,210,031, or a margin of less than 30,000 votes)—and God only knows how many votes he lost due to the apparent voter-suppression efforts in the ghetto by Whitman's campaign manager.

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Subject: Amis and the Anglo Follies

From: Jim Murphy

Date: Sat Jun 3  3:12 a.m.

Inigo Thomas' query [ Tuesday's entry] as to whether we Londoners really know what we're laughing at leads me to wonder whether it was this very trait which prompted the hostility met by The Information, Amis' 1995 novel. Amis had delighted us for years with artful illustrations of vice yet when he dished up a comedy about failure, it evidently rubbed too close to the bone. We could distance ourselves from the vaudeville villainy of John Self and Keith Talent, but the mundane malignancy of Richard Tull in The Information struck too close to home. Amis has always written about ugliness, but here the ugliness seemed too much like our own.

As for why Experience restores Amis to favour: Well, I suspect sadly we read it as Amis saying "I'm sorry, folks, I was wrong, the follies are all mine."

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